Last Words for The Road is a collaborative and social art project.
First started in 2014, I travel the world and live from hostel to hostel, in search of people who move and travel.
I ask about their motives and deepest motivations. I collect from them a quote they like, ask them to write it down for me and catalog it.
Every quote represents a part of the individual's personality and life mantra, allowing me to construct a portrait of the modern-day traveler, allowing me to come closer to understanding and studying when and why our generations have been continuously on the move and what connects us all.
Last Words for The Road is the anti-thesis of our selfie-generation. It tries to collect people's depth before collecting their facebook.
They are the collectibles of the generations that said "no" and traded it for "go".
Idea & Text by Lauren Klarfeld
Illustrations & book design by Sebastian Gonzalez Paul
All rights reserved 2023.
Quotes collected in Spain & Portugal
(Madrid, Sevilla, Almeria, Barcelona, Gran Canarias, Azores Islands) :
Spain was and is the country in which I lost and found myself - but it is also the country in which I understood and gave myself new meaning behind the word "traveler". Spain weaves a mixture of people from all over the world who have come in search of either better economic opportunity, or for a taste of the "spanish lifestyle". It seems that the concept of "time" and "home" are a lot in people's minds here - perhaps because Spain is the home of many, but also because time is lived differently and at a much slower pace. I met most people here in the various hostels I volunteered in, at El Campo de la Cebada, at parties, and in the streets of the Lavapies and Malasaña neighborhood.
Quotes collected in Belgium
Brussels is a destination I keep going back and forth to - a place I called home since the age of 18 but that I only started investigating as a home once I started travelling away from it. Every time I left I was reminded of what home was and what it could and should be. Brussels is a cosmopolitan city, with people from all over the world - and where most people speak two if not more languages because of Belgium's peculiarity of being a small kingdom with three official languages (French, Dutch and German). A number of non-official languages and dialects are also spoken. I met most of the people at bars, dinner parties, and in the street.
Quotes collected in South East Asia
Here I followed route to the South Eastern part of Asia - also known to have become a popular destination for travellers in their 20's up to their 40's, and in most cases for the ever so popular mantra to "find themselves". In Indonesia I investigated the "spiritual" side of travel in a country that has a number of different religions that are practised and that have a significant influence on the country's political scenery. South East Asia I learned, was also popular with backpackers because it offered very easy (and cheap) mobility opportunities, especially for westerners with a stronger currency to spend abroad. I encountered most travellers (and a few english-speaking locals) at bus stops, hostels and in the street.
Quotes collected in Greece
In Greece I went to volunteer in refugee camps and helped out with Light House relief at the coast of Skala Sikamineas on Lesbos Island, which was considered the biggest "hotspot" for the arrival of dinghies who made it accross the meditaranean (if they were lucky). Here, I met a few refugees who were still waiting on an answer for their asylum requests. In the NGO itself, many of the volunteers I met were travelling between destinations over longer periods of time. There was also a strong presence of people between the age of 40 and 65 who spent their holiday leaves here instead of vacacioning abroad. The experience taught me more about the ressemblences between travellers and refugees - both also on the move, but for different purposes - one for leisure - the other for survival.
Quotes collected in Europe
(Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin, Milan, Trier)
This series is based on various mini trips I made in Europe on weekends or public holidays. Most often I met people in their homes, couchsurfing and using stay-with-locals types of accomodations, which allowed for a closer contact with locals of the countries I travelled to. What struck me most was the welcome and reception I received from each. Most of the people I met in Europe had travelled a lot themselves and now found a way to travel without moving geographically, by opening up their homes to people from different origins.
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